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Ryan Call, GOP chairman, on women's issues and Todd Akin: Democrats are desperate

In this week's feature, "Purple Haze," we outline how the close fight for Colorado's nine electoral votes could determine the next president of the United States. And a key part of that battle, nationally and in Colorado, involves the women's vote.

Here's more from our interview with state GOP Chairman Ryan Cal, including his take on the impact of the presidential race on women's issues and the Todd Akin controversy.

From his perspective, the Democratic Party is pushing women's issues by misrepresenting the GOP's position.

"The Democratic Party's approach to tackling this issue has been fundamentally dishonest," he says. "We also think voters in Colorado, especially women voters, are a whole lot smarter than the Democrats...give them credit for."

Ryan Call earlier this summer at a Mitt Romney event.
Ryan Call earlier this summer at a Mitt Romney event.
Sam Levin

In Colorado and across the country, the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party have been courting women voters by focusing on women's access to health care and birth control, the funding of Planned Parenthood and more. A lot of that has come up this week with the GOP officially announcing its platform -- which is incredibly conservative on many fronts, including the rejection of rape exemptions.

The women's vote mattered a lot when Colorado went blue in 2008; CNN exit polls from 2008 show that 56 percent of Colorado females voted for Obama while 41 percent voted for John McCain. And it's certainly going to play a big role this November.

Obama supporters have recently jumped on the comments of Representative Todd Akin, a Missouri senatorial hopeful who said in an interview earlier this month that victims of "legitimate rape" seldom get pregnant. Prominent GOP leaders, including Mitt Romney, quickly said they disagreed with those comments, but opponents continue to tie the Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan to Akin and his comments.

When asked about Akin, Call says he doesn't want to specifically comment on that controversy, but proceeds to weigh in on the Democratic Party's use of the "legitimate rape" line in its campaigning.

"To say that's emblematic of the Republican Party is a huge misreading," he says, noting that Reince Priebus, Mitt Romney and "virtually every Republican leader has come out to condemn those comments."

Call's take? He condemns them, too. "They have no place in the dialogue.... They are way outside of what the Republican Party stands for.... For the Democratic Party to try to tie us to them...it's a dishonest campaign tactic."

He says, "I don't know how much more you can ask for in terms of the Republican Party and its leadership stepping out to condemn those remarks." Call adds: "It just demonstrates how desperate the Democrats are."

Signs in the Mitt Romney headquarters in Lakewood.
Signs in the Mitt Romney headquarters in Lakewood.
Sam Levin

When debating women's issues, Call regularly brings the subject back to the economy and jobs.

"The direction of the economy is first and foremost on the minds of women in the state," he says.

When Democrats "can't run on their issues or their record, they resort to trying to make the other side seem out of touch," he adds. "That's something I think most voters...[and] women voters see through."

More from our Politics archive: "Joanne Richardson: Voters won't get to choose Summit County coroner's successor"

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.


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